The United States men’s soccer national team beat Iceland in an international friendly (3-2) as they begin their 2016 campaign at StubHub Center in Carson, California. In the thirteenth minute Iceland went up 1-0 from a deflection effort from forward Kristinn Steindorsson. The US struck back and scored seven minutes later with a through ball delivered from Michael Bradley that split two Iceland defenders. Jozy Altidore slid in behind and chipped it over the Iceland’s keeper to tie the game up at one a piece.
In the second half Iceland regained the lead in the forty-eighth minute when Aron Sigurdarson beat Robles and put one lower right after the US was slow to get back on a quick restart.
The US kept battling back and ten minutes later Altidore crossed the ball into the box where Steve Birnbaum headed the ball to the back post to find unmarked Orozcowas standing in the goalmouth as he headed it home.
Then in the ninetieth minute Michael Bradley served a free kick into the box where it found the head of Steve Birnbaum and ended the game with a US victory over Iceland 3-2.
Steve Birnbaum’s 90th-minute header, Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press
The reason behind these friendly games are to help coaches identify new talent and for players to get game experience at an international level. This match marked the debut of several young Americans including midfielders Tony Tchani, Jordan Morries, Ethan Finley, Tony Kiesewetter and defender Kellyn Acosta.
Two players who stood out for the US. Jozy Altidore who arrived at training camp a week early to get himself in better shape. The last time we saw him back in November was during the MLS playoffs he was 15 pounds heavier. His hard work really paid off last night with a great goal and he seemed to be in impressive shape after playing seventy-five minutes.
Jozy Altidore celebrates after his goal in the 22nd minute, Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press
Jerome Kiesewetter was another player that stood out in my mind; he has been one of the best players on the US U-23 team over the past few years. As soon as he stepped on the field he was a problem for the Iceland’s back four, he created several good goal-scoring chances. Although he is young, his fast paced ball movement and his ability to come off the bench and have that much of an impact makes him one of the players to watch for in the future.
The US got their first opening win in 2016 in a dramatic fashion, battling back from being behind twice. The US has another upcoming friendly against Canada on February 5th at 7:15 p.m. PT again at StubHub Center. Click here for the US men’s soccer full 2016 schedule: http://ussoccerplayers.com/schedule